Thursday, December 4, 2008

OLPC and the dying belief

I quoted OLPC earlier

Our commitment to software freedom gives children the opportunity to use their laptops on their own terms. While we do not expect every child to become a programmer, we do not want any ceiling imposed on those children who choose to modify their machines. We are using open-document formats for much the same reason: transparency is empowering. The children—and their teachers—will have the freedom to reshape, reinvent, and reapply their software, hardware, and content.

Short, straightforward, and powerful language.

Compare to the current page contents. Here's a sample:

Thus OLPC puts an emphasis on software tools for exploring and expressing, rather than instruction. Love is a better master than duty. Using the laptop as the agency for engaging children in constructing knowledge based upon their personal interests and providing them tools for sharing and critiquing these constructions will lead them to become learners and teachers.

As a matter of practicality and given the necessity to enhance performance and reliability while containing costs, XO is not burdened by the bloat of excess code, the “featureitis” that is responsible for much of the clumsiness, unreliability, and expense of many modern laptops.

A truly inspiring stand for constructivist teaching. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, little else is being said.

1 comment:

Edward said...

We aren't shouting about Constructivism and Constructionism in public, but we have a good deal to say quietly. Consider this report from Ethiopia on breaking out from a school culture in which children were never to ask questions, among other things.

We have the computer. We have some of the software. We are just now starting to write a new kind of interactive textbook, integrating our hardware and software capabilities into instruction, and the whole into the curriculum.

We aren't going to say a whole lot to the wide world until we have something we can brag about, tested and verified by education researchers. So if you want to find out what is really going on now, you have to volunteer at sugarlabs.org. No matter who you are, no matter what your knowledge and skills, we will invite you in and find something suitabl for you to do.

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